Sunday, October 12, 2014

When things become a bit touchy

* In his National Day address, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou urged Beijing to "move toward constitutional democracy"---a clear departure from the usual conciliatory tone in recent years.

* Beijing was swift in its response. The State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) felt the remarks were "unhelpful" to cross-Strait relations and external forces, including Taiwan, should not interfere with China's domestic affairs.

* China-Taiwan relations will likely slow down a bit since Beijing has rejected the idea of a cross-Strait summit between Ma and Chinese President Xi Jinping during next month's APEC Leaders' Conference in Beijing. Though it was something both sides desired, traditional ideological inhibitions, i.e. cross-Strait relations are China's internal affairs, made it inappropriate to take place at an international setting like APEC.

* Coupled with the continuing standoff in Hong Kong over universal suffrage and the upcoming "9 in 1" local elections in Taiwan on November 29, domestic political factors on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will preclude new initiative by either Beijing or Taipei---at least until the end of the years. But there will be no derailment in the ongoing cross-Strait rapprochement. "Slow but stable" are the operative words in the coming months.